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Bad contractor warning: Woman's horror story a lesson for all

A woman paid thousands for substandard work that will have to be redone.
Lumber prices
Posted at 7:44 AM, Jun 26, 2024

Home renovations should transform your living spaces for the better, but hiring the wrong contractor could leave you with a giant mess, and an even larger bill, as one woman learned.

Tiana Lynch loved her new home until she says a contractor's rehab job made it uninhabitable.

"Right in here we had water pouring from the ceiling," she said, pointing to the ceiling of her basement.

The first time she used her upstairs shower, she said water cascaded into the lower bathroom. She called a home inspector, who told her the entire bathroom needed to be redone.

"She told me the whole thing needs to be taken down and hauled away," Lynch said.

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She showed upside-down electrical outlets and a sloppy paint job, where glossy paint contrasted with flat paint in her stairway.

"Right here, you can see a big splatter of paint," she said.

"I have paid over $13,000" for two poorly done bathrooms, she said.

How to protect yourself

We turned to a highly rated contractor for advice on how to avoid a rehab nightmare like this. Hannah Wells of REP General Contracting shared her tips for hiring a reliable contractor.

Wells suggests you start with referrals from friends or local Facebook group.

"You will have people who highly recommend certain contractors in the area with photos of their work," she said.

Wells then recommends you get multiple quotes, and only move forward with a contract that's in writing. She says never accept a verbal agreement for a home project that will cost several thousand dollars.

In the event a contractor runs off or leaves a mess, Wells says beforehand to make sure you ask for a certificate of insurance. Finally, read the company's Better Business Bureau review.

"Unless you have a certificate of insurance with their policy number, their agent's information, the company they're insured through," she said, "you have little to no recourse."

We reached out to Lynch's contractor, who blamed the poor work on an unqualified subcontractor, and told us he is willing to finish the job. But Lynch says she's had enough.

"It was excuse after excuse after excuse," she said.
 
She only wishes she had read online reviews before hiring him.

That way you don't waste your money.

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